Companions, I have already welcomed, earlier this afternoon, our Distinguished Guests & Visitors and I now extend that welcome to you all and I thank you for your attendance.
What a wonderful year we had in 2015 when we celebrated our 250th Anniversary and I am very grateful for the wonderful support that I received from the 2015/2016 Provincial Officers during the last 12 months I would particularly thank my Deputy Grand Superintendent and my 2nd and 3rd Provincial Grand Principals. The Provincial Team has been out on four occasions
and has performed Exaltation Ceremonies on all of those occasions. The Provincial Team has risen to the task on every occasion and we have had some memorable evenings around this wonderful Province. I thank all those Team members who have put their heart and soul into these Convocations.
In March of this year we visited Portland in the Province of Dorset when they hosted the Annual Quadripartite Convocation between the Royal Arch Provinces of Dorset, Hampshire & the Isle of Wight, Somerset and Wiltshire and what a wonderful Convocation it was and I thank the Most Excellent Grand Superintendent of Dorset for his hospitality on that occasion.
I, as well as Members of my Executive, have enjoyed during the year visits to the Annual Convocations of our neighbouring Provinces. We always enjoy these visits and we thank them all for their hospitality and are delighted that so many of them are represented here this afternoon. We all know that we have something special and long may it continue.
In April at Supreme Grand Chapter the 1st Pro Grand Principal invested Excellent Companion Andy Gray with his Grand Collar and I congratulate him. He is not with us today as he has a hospital appointment to see if they can help his mobility. E Comp Douglas Burford also received a promotion to Past Grand Scribe Nehemiah, he is here today and we all congratulate you Douglas. There are several other Companions from other Provinces here this afternoon who also received appointments or Promotions and I sincerely congratulate them all. I would like to congratulate all those Brethren who were invested the previous day with Grand Craft Rank.
We have this year within Somerset had several Companions who have reached that milestone of 50 years since their Exaltation and it was with great pleasure that I was able to present my Grand Superintendent, Denis Calderley with his 50th Certificate in April of this year. Can I also take this opportunity of thanking my Past Deputy Grand Superintendent and the Provincial Grand Master for their joint presentation of my own 50th Anniversary Certificate and Lapel Pin just a few days ago at Wrington Vale Chapter all I can say that it was something special and a Convocation unlike any other I have every been to.
I congratulate all those Provincial Officers that I have invested here this afternoon, and not only thank them for what they have done for the Holy Royal Arch in the past but I would remind them all that by accepting the appointment they are obligated to continue with that support and to encourage all brethren to take this final step in Pure Antient Masonry.
We have said goodbye this afternoon to our Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra who has retired after six years. I will miss Alan dreadfully I have always said that we both read from the same book but the advantage of Alan is that he is always a page in front of me. I wish you a very happy year in your office of Provincial Senior Grand Warden and thank you for all that you have done for the Royal Arch.
E Comp Ian Barrie has also retired as our Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies and I would like to thank him again for all that he has done during the last five years.
My Deputy Grand Superintendent, E Comp Bob Moore has also retired today but I am going to reserve my remarks regarding him, until later.
We now have a new Scribe Ezra and Director of Ceremonies and I am sure that the next few months will be trying for both of them, and probably for myself, but Companions we do have to make these changes to ensure that this wonderful organisation continues to flourish.
The other retirement today is that of E Comp Julian May who has been the Provincial Communication Officer, it is always a difficult one when you are the first Companion to hold an office but I do thank you Julian for your efforts and your retirement now leaves you free to concentrate on your other job, that of Editor of our Triple Taulk Magazine. Companions there will be a new edition of Triple Taulk issued shortly which will report on this Convocation, the idea being that all Companions within the Province will be aware of what happened here today in a reasonably short time. There will also be another issue in November 2016 and one again in March 2017 and these will be the regular dates of publication in future. If you have anything that you feel might be useful please send it to Julian May.
I have not appointed a new Communication Officer this afternoon, we now have a Provincial Liaison Officer, Adrian Halliwell, he will perform a similar role as that of Communication Officer but it is being administered in a slightly different way and this will affect all current Chapter Communication Officers. The Chapter Communication Officers have in the past been appointed by the various Chapters from today they will receive their appointment from Calderley Chapter and will be invested at each Chapter Installation Convocation as it occurs throughout the years by the visiting Provincial Principal attending and not the
Principals of the Chapter. Why the change? Well all present Communication Officer hold Honorary Membership of Calderley Chapter, which as I am sure you are aware is the Grand Superintendent’s personal Chapter and whose Convocations are used to discuss all matters regarding Provincial Grand Chapter matters. I do need however to give both the Calderley Chapter and the role of the representatives of that Chapter a far stronger presence within their own Chapter. To achieve this from today the office of Calderley Liaison Officer as they will now be known, will each be presented and invested with a Badge at the Chapters Installation Convocation and it is hoped that this will give the Office a much higher Profile within the Chapter. The present Communication Officer together with that name will remain in Office until the next Chapter Installation after which they will be known as Calderley Liaison Officer. The new Provincial Liaison Officer will be contacting each Chapter Scribe E and each present Communication Officer with the next few weeks to fully explain these changes and their implications but please be aware no existing Communication
Officer is being sidelined each of you will have the opportunity to become the new Calderley Liaison Officer should you so wish.
I can also announce today that we now have a new Provincial Grand Chapter of Somerset Web Site and one of the reasons that we are making the changes with the Communication Officers is that form today each Chapter Liaison Officer will have direct access to the Chapters Web Page and will in future be responsible for keeping their own Chapters page up to date. I am very grateful for all of the work that has been put into the new web page by my Past Deputy E Comp Bob Moore, who is now The Provincial Webmaster, and who will be holding here at The Webbington several workshops during the Summer so that all the existing Communication Officers will be familiar with what is required of them. This very much work in progress but I am sure that we are entering a very exciting period.
In March this year we received a presentation of ‘Talking Heads’ by Metropolitan Grand Lodge at Wraxall Lodge in Nailsea. I have now put together a demonstration Team and we are having an evening here at the end of June to put together other teams for the demonstration of the Talking Heads. The Talking Heads presentation takes place in a Craft Lodge and the Teams are available to perform this in any Craft Lodge within Somerset from the 1st September 2016. The new Provincial Grand Scribe E will be contacting all Chapters within the Province with this information and he will also be in contact with the Provincial Grand Secretary, who will in turn contact all Lodges within Somerset. If your Lodge is interesting in such a presentation please contact the Provincial Grand Scribe Ezra as soon as possible. In future there will be a dedicated person dealing with these bookings bur until he is appointed please book through the Provincial Grand Scribe E.
Later on this afternoon I shall be making a presentation of a cheque to The Somerset Visually Impaired Cricket Club and I do thank all of those Chapters who have responded to my appeal for this organisation. Since becoming Grand Superintendent we have supported many smaller Charities with this wonderful Province and have received wonderful feed back for that support. I do not however intend to announce any new Charitable appeal this afternoon but I would request that between now and the 2020 Craft Festival we channel our Charitable donations to that cause. The Provincial Grand Charity Steward will be contacting all Chapter Charity Stewards with the full details before the new Masonic Season starts in September.
The Jewels that can be worn in Chapter are clearly defined in the Royal Arch Regulations and we all have to abide by these rules. The Royal Arch Province of Somerset will however permit the wearing of the 2020 Craft Festival Jewel in Chapters from today and up until that Festival is finished in 2020.
Today’s Annual Convocation would not have taken place without a great deal of hard work by relatively few Companions. I thank our Provincial Grand Janitor, E Comp John Griffin and his team who have transported the equipment from Bridgwater Masonic Hall to The Webbington Hotel and will be returning it afterwards. I thank the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies E Comp Ian Barrie and his team, which includes the Provincial Stewards and to the retiring Provincial Grand Treasurer E Comp Neil Hawes.
Most of the work load as usual has fallen on our Provincial Grand Scribe E Alan Holton, not only today but throughout the year and the Assistant Provincial Grand Scribe E, E Patrick Haxell. I would also like to thank the Provincial Grand Organist Comp Barry Renwick, for the wonderful music that he produces on all occasions and for the great help extended to him by E Comp Toby Hammond, who is responsible for all the sound system here this afternoon. I thank each and every one of them for what they have done to make today such a success. I would extend thanks all to all of the Staff here at The Webbington Hotel & Spa for the wonderful support that they provide to Provincial Grand Chapter of Somerset, not only today, but on several other occasions during the year.
Companions I thank you for your company here this afternoon and I look forward to your company at Dinner later on. I trust that you have enjoyed your day here in Somerset and I wish you a safe journey home after Dinner.
May the True and Living God Most High be with us all.